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Father/Daughter Girl Scout Luau March 21, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family, Scouts.
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I think we’ve neglected to mention that Rachel has been active in Girl Scouts from the moment she was eligible, just like Benjamin was with Cub Scouts.  Last year, she was a Daisy and this year she has moved up to be a Brownie.  Even though she is the only girl in her troop not in the local elementary school, her leader says she fits in beautifully and she has so many friends that you’d never guess they haven’t known each other for years.

Girl Scouts is very different than Cub/Boy Scouts (at least here).  A parent has always been required to participate in all things the boys do, but parents are really discouraged to hang around the girls.  That makes the things the girls work on very hard to photograph.  Tonight though, I had a good opportunity.  It’s the annual Father/Daughter Dance with a Hawaiian theme.  Here is the lovely couple before they left for their date.

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You can’t quite see it, but we put a matching pink flower in Rachel’s hair.

Delightful Daffodils March 20, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family, Farm.
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One of my favorite things about old homesteads is the unexpected places you come upon things.  Often times driving in the country you will notice a chimney standing alone in the middle of a shady area or you stumble upon an old farm implement of unknown use.  They are the only remaining hints of the lives of the previous residents.  Often daffodils are that way too.

Various owners of our farm have planted flowers while they lived here.  There are a few neat rows of bulbs that come up along the driveway, but the ones that interest me most are the ones seemingly in the middle of nowhere in particular.  There are several clumps of jonquils in odd places in the yard, a few peonies, and even some Lily of the Valley that spring up.  Even though they make mowing a bit tricky I always insist that they be left to grow, in part because they are pretty, but also in part because someone before us loved this place enough to plant them.

One of these places is a new find.  Down in the woods, nowhere near any former structure I know of, there are several groupings of daffodils.  The children always love to pick flowers for our table, so I pointed them out.  Lydia, being the “big kid” that she is now is never left out.  She has her own rubber boots and she wants to tromp along with us wherever we go.

Here are a few pictures from the flower picking a couple of weeks ago.  They just seem to beg for captions.

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“We came all the way down here for THIS?!”

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“Those are mine.” (Spoken like a true 2 year old).

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“These are mine too.”

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“All this flower-picking has worn me out!  I sure hope Mom appreciates my hard work.”

The Fallen Giant March 19, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family, Farm.
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We are fortunate to have hundreds of beautiful trees on our property.  We have enjoyed them so much for their form, shade, fruit, nuts, fall color, and wood.  In particular, we are grateful for the many huge old pecan trees that were probably planted by the original owners over 100 years ago.  They provide bountiful enough nuts for us, the squirrels, and the crows without too much squabbling among us.

Yesterday as I was going out to hang laundry, I heard a series of what sounded like rapid-fire shotgun blasts close to the house.  I turned to see the back third of a 75 foot pecan tree peel away from the trunk and crash to the ground, taking one of our perimeter fences down with it.  I was glad to see that the cows weren’t lounging underneath that (their favorite) tree at the moment.   I quickly moved the cows to a new pasture and let Joe know what had happenend.  Our weekend plans have now changed (top of the to-do list is to remove the tree and repair the fence).

A few minutes ago, while hanging more wash, I heard a series of creaks.  I looked over in time to see another section break away and land on a black walnut tree that has also borne nuts generously.  (I’m starting to think maybe I shouldn’t do anymore laundry!).

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Here is a photo of the giant reclining in the pasture.  That speck to the left of it is Joe.

The tree poses a threat to livestock, other trees, a storage shed, and additional fences so the rest must come down.  We hate to see it go.  But always trying to find the positive- we’re well set for good firewood next winter.

My Supervisor March 19, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family, Farm.
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We’ve had some beautiful weather this week and I have put it to good use outside.  While the “big kids” (yes, now Lydia is one of those, at least according to the grandmother who was so eager to have her come along 🙂 ) have been visiting their AL grandparents, Timothy has been supervising my work.  Yesterday, we got 8 new blueberry bushes put in the perennial patch and today we got 3 fruit trees added to the orchard.  Timothy tried out his exersaucer for the first time.

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We were soon joined by the other members of “middle management” (aka Daisy the dog and Guido the Guinea).

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Off camera was an assortment of chickens, another dog, and a cat or two.

We couldn’t get enough of the beautiful sunshine.  Come on, spring!

New Old Technology March 18, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family, Farm.
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As we get older, Joe and I are learning to appreciate the wisdom of bygone days more and more.  We installed an antique pot-bellied wood-burning stove to heat one end of the house.  We’ve been gardening and “putting food by” for use in the winter.  We’ve started our own herd of goats and cattle for meat in the future.  We raise heritage breeds of chickens (and hopefully turkeys again).  In past years, these decisions have been based mostly on lifestyle preferences rather than strictly economics.  But like most people, we’ve begun to look more critically at our finances and unnecessary spending this last year.  We have been especially targeting our electricity bill.  One of the things we’ve decided to try is the old-fashioned clothes line.

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I had bought the lines and pins years ago, but we have never gotten around to putting them up.  Joe put up the lines this last weekend and I have been using them whenever it isn’t raining.  It does take longer to do laundry this way, but strangely I’ve found that I almost enjoy doing laundry now.

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There is something satisfying and calming about a line of sweet little diapers and clothes dancing in the breeze.